by Eothen “Egon” Alapatt, with additional text edited from an essay by Lance Scott Walker.
Drummer, bandleader and activist William George “Bubbha” Thomas died at his son William’s home on Saturday March 28th, 2020. He was 82 years old. His son said that the cause was heart failure; Thomas had been in failing health for some time and hadn’t played his drums in years. But his mind was sharp until the end, and he was surrounded by music. William said that Bubbha passed on while listening to “All In Love Is Fair” from the fourth album in his classic period, Country Fried Chicken (Spotify), streaming on the internet. Yesterday was a sad day for me, but that moment gave me a feeling of peace: some years prior, Bubbha had called me, deep into our friend-and mentorship and business relationship, and told me that he wasn’t getting younger, and he wanted all of his music available, for all to hear – and fast. I had held off on that commitment for years, as I knew how daunting of a task it was going to be. But I’m glad, on that day, that I said yes. The resulting box set, which I worked with Bubbha to issue as Creative Music: The Complete Works, came out in full last year, and coincided with the wide release of his catalog, which is of the highest echelon of jazz music. (more…)